The shelter-in-place orders around country have created the largest remote workforce we’ve ever seen, and it happened nearly overnight. If you don’t have employees who regularly telecommute, it’s unlikely that you have a Work From Home Policy in place. Here are three reasons why it’s critical to implement a formal policy.
#1 Hackers Are Exploiting the Situation
The greatest strength cybercriminals have is exploiting weakness, whether in systems or humans (more on that latter). This pandemic has exposed a number of chinks in our armor, therefore, creating a booming business for hackers. The two biggest vulnerabilities today are: the fear created by the pandemic and the large, unprepared remote workforce.
During this uncertain time, people are understandably anxious and seeking answers about the virus. Hackers are exploiting this fear and creating websites purporting to offer helpful health information. By March 21, more than 67,000 suspicious domains related to the coronavirus.
The number of phishing websites has increased by 350% during this pandemic, according to Atlas VPN.
“Hackers identified coronavirus as something users are desperate to find information on. Panic leads to irrational thinking and people forget the basics of cybersecurity. Users then download malicious files or try to purchase in-demand items from unsafe websites, in result becoming victims of scams.” — Rachel Welsh, COO of Atlas VPN
#2 Employees Are Unprepared
Human behavior is often the biggest vulnerability to cybersecurity — we click on emails we shouldn’t and we’re not as vigilant about using secure networks — and that may be especially true now. Many employees are trying to navigate telecommuting for the first time and may not know that networks and personal devices can create security issues.
Work From Home Policies give your employees the guidance they need to keep your company data safe. An effective Work From Home Policy will include how to use approved networks, devices, and software as well as what practices are forbidden
Hackers are acutely aware that telecommuting creates weaknesses. A number of phishing scams have recently popped up related to software used in remote workforces. One such email scam asked recipients to enter their credentials to access Microsoft’s OneNote.
#3 Telecommuting Is Trending
You may be wondering if it’s worth implementing a formal Work From Home Policy given the uncertainty of when workers can go back to the office. If your employees can head back to the office in a matter of weeks, is it worth spending the time with a new policy?
The truth is that telecommuting has been increasing for some time now. As employees see the benefit of skipping their commute, many companies see telecommuting as competitive advantage for attracting and retaining talent. Take these statistics from a 2019 International Workplace Group study:
- 81% of businesses are improving employee retention by implementing flexible working
- 78% of companies believe that offering flexible working allows them to expand their talent pool
- 35% of people said that flexible working is so important, that they would prioritize it over having a more prestigious role